I didn’t bother to avoid spoilers in this review, since the movie IS about eleven years old. I didn’t say the ending, but I wasn’t as careful as usual either. Just to let you know :]
Though it’s nearly eleven years old, Spirited Away is still a wonderful movie. I saw it for the first time last night and thoroughly enjoyed it, although I was a bit confused for the majority of it =P The art style of the movie is simple, but very well done, and the story, though confusing at parts, was interesting and fun to watch. I watched the version with subtitles, so I can’t say how the English dub is. After watching for a few minutes, reading the subtitles wasn’t even a problem though.
The story begins with Chihiro, a rather sullen, quiet, ten-year-old girl who is moving with her family to a new city. When her father takes a wrong turn and they drive down a dirt path, she is very opposed to following a mysterious tunnel, but out of fear of being left alone at the car, follows her parents through it. On the other side, they find a mysterious field and town, entirely devoid of residents. Upon discovering delicious food, Chihiro’s parents begin to eat, but she refuses to, wandering through the seemingly abandoned town until she begins to cross a bridge. A boy dashes up to her, warning her to go back before the residents come back. Confused, Chihiro begins to leave, but then sees shadowy forms wandering through the previously empty town. Hurrying back to her parents, she finds that they have been transformed into pigs. The boy (who’s name is Haku) returns, helping her to a safer place. He gives her instructions on where to go and leaves her. Chihiro thus begins her quest to escape the mysterious spirit world she has accidentally entered and save her parents. Along the way, she encounters odd creatures and strange tasks, finding her way through the dangerous world with the help of a few others.
Of the characters, I liked most of them. There were a few I didn’t care for, but for the most part, they were good characters. One of my favorites was Kamaji, a six-armed man who works in the boiler room. While at first he seems a bit gruff, in the end he has a soft spot for Chihiro and turns out to be very kind.
Also, the little enchanted soot that works for him is extremely adorable. Somehow. I’m not sure.
I wasn’t a huge fan of how Haku looked as a human, but his dragon form was so awesome :]
No-Face was an interesting character. Throughout the course of the movie, my feelings towards him changed several times. When he first appeared, he seemed rather sinister to me, and then, after he was kind to Chihiro, I began to really like him. When he turned into a gluttonous monstrosity, I felt rather sad for him, and also disappointed, after his previous actions.
After that, it went back to my second impression of him. I really liked how he fed off the surrounding people’s emotions and views. For example, when he was with Chihiro, he was a gentle, quiet, and polite. But when he began to be influenced by the greedy people in the bathhouse, he becomes selfish, loud, greedy, and arrogant. He really takes being influenced by those around to another level, while not breaking character. Also, when he returns to being gentle and quiet in the end, he learns how to knit. I laughed a little when I saw that ^^
Overall, I loved Spirited Away and will probably end up watching it again in the future. Despite its age, it’s definitely worth a watch :]
Talk to you soon,